You may not be lucky enough to be close to us here in the South East to utilise our TV aerial installation or repair services, that’s a shame, but all is not lost!
Despite what is shown on Watchdog and the like there are still some other great aerial installers in the UK.
As a Which trusted trader we were asked by Which magazine to write up a short piece to advise their readers how to go about picking a good aerial fitting company, we have copied it here for you:
Before the call:
Do some research; you can view your property on the www.digitaluk.co.uk coverage checker by entering your postcode and house number on the website. This will show you whether you are in a high or low digital TV signal area, it shows what television service providers are available to you and it has a full breakdown of all available TV channels at your property. This will assist you when checking your current aerial install and reviewing your new install before payment, for example should you be receiving all HD channels after a digital TV install at your property?
Look at your neighbours, do they have normal sized aerials on standard length poles or huge great installations? Unless you have very local issues to your house such as close dense trees blocking tv signal then you will be looking to get an installation that matches the average neighbours install.
Picking who to call:
The difficulty with aerial installation is it something people very rarely get carried out so recommendations are quite hard to find and can be difficult to rely upon. As many domestic customers do not have a frame of reference in the industry to compare with they may well be recommended a poor quality or bad value company that just happens to have friendly installers.
A better way of finding recommendation is to ask other tradesmen, do you have a well respected electrician, estate agent or building firm you know of and have used? Ask them who they use for their commercial work. The trade quickly routes out poor workman. And an aerial installer who knows he has been recommended from one of his hard won trade customers will want to carry out the highest standard of work.
Location and trace-ability is an issue in this trade, there are numerous nationwide aerial companies and call centers that subcontract your TV aerial work to one of their franchisees, adding a level of cost not required as the national company will be taking their percentage profit and the local franchisee does not feel his name is personally at risk with regards the quality of work carried out, he will also tend to have many jobs that day over a wide area, he may well be in rush.
The benefits of using a genuinely local installer is local TV reception knowledge, trace-ability and speed of response for guarantee work a local firm will want to keep his reputation.
Good local TV installers will openly display their full address on their website, many others do not.
If possible pick 2-3 local TV aerial fitters for quotes.
During the call:
The purpose of the call should be to pick one or two installers from your list and arrange for a to visit and give a final price before work, not to book in the job.
A good local aerial installer should be able to give a very accurate estimate before works as he knows the digital signal strength and any local variations, and knows the type of properties with any access issues.
He will need to know from you where you are and what type of property it is, three story town house or bungalow? Do you have a chimney? and where is the TV situated, do you want extra rooms fed, bedrooms etc..? now is the cheapest time to do it.
You may want to ask you chosen installers some question relating to quality of equipment,:
- What brand of aerials do they install?
- Does the TV aerial or the installer include 4G filters to filter out any possible mobile broadband interference?
- Is the mounting hardware the longer lasting galvanised and welded steel or the cheaper painted pressed steel brackets? Cheap painted brackets mounted onto a side wall quickly leave nasty looking rust streaks down your property wall and pressed steel brackets bend very quickly.
- What cable do they use? the coaxial cable used should really only be called WF100 or CT100, this is the best available and not expensive some installers use RG6 which should be fine for domestic installations, any other answer such as “low loss digital cable” is wrong, if they do not know the answer or just state “coax” or similar then that is worrying.
- Will they be replacing all external parts and all old cable?
- Who is their insurance with?
- Payment methods, no professional company only accepts cash. Cheques, credit/debit cards or even bank transfer after works should be perfectly OK.
- Are there any extra costs? For example VAT or parts removal costs.
- Do they think you may need an amplifier? Unlikely for a property in a good signal strength area unless more than 3-4 rooms are being fed with signal. If so how much would that add to the cost? TV signal amplifiers should cost no more than between £30 – 60 supplied and fitted for a domestic property.
- What is the guarantee length? Industry standard is 2 years parts and labour.
No payment or deposit should need to be made on booking a visit, no credit card details need ever to be given on the telephone before works.
When picking your final aerial installer price should really only be the final part, aerial installs and works are not expensive in the great scheme of things.
It would be unwise to pick the wrong installer for the sake of saving £10 – 20 there is much damage a poorly installed aerial can do to chimney and roof, also cheap equipment does have a very short life span, and we have fixed many such cheap installs.
If they do give you a firm price on the phone then request a follow up email from them, make sure it is marked quote not estimate! and that it clearly lists everything discussed.
If they cannot give a firm price on the telephone then go ahead and book a visit solely for a quote.
A genuinely local and friendly installer will be happy to give you 15 minutes for a visit and leave you with a written quote.
The visit and install.
Your installer should be able to give a two hour window to arrive.
Prepare for the visit by clearing the drive of cars to enable safe movement and erection of ladders, now take a look and maybe even photo your roof tiles and gutters, there should be no new breakages after works have been carried out.
Top tip for a compliant TV aerial installer would be to now put the kettle on and have a couple of biscuits ready.
On the day your installer visits he will explain to your where the aerial will be sited, maybe giving options.
They should be looking to install securely to the wall or chimney, screwing to the eaves should be a last resort. He will if asked show you the cable runs and explain discuss where the TV socket will be placed.
When the works are complete, cable runs should be securely clipped to the eaves or wall not draped though gutters, the cable is weatherproof but not waterproof.
When running cable over the roof it should be brown or black and not draped diagonally across the roof, the cable should enter the property through the wall not through window frames, all holes in walls must be then filled with a reasonably colour matching or clear silicone sealant inside and out.
Your TV should now be tuned in and demonstrated to you, make sure you have all the channels you saw earlier on the digitalUK website and spend some time watching a couple of HD channels, if available, for at least 3-5 minutes, there should be no break up on any channels.
If all is OK with the reception and you are happy that the works carried out match the quote then now is the time to pay, the installer will leave you with an accurate and dated receipt listing all the installation parts and clearly stating the guarantee and their contact details.
Phew, hope that all helped, if not just see here Bushey Aerials some of the reasons you should use us as your trusted installers.